The Rt. Rev. William E. Swing


President and Founding Trustee

Bishop William Swing is the President and Founder of the URI. Bishop Swing had the original vision of URI in 1993 in response to an invitation from the United Nations which asked him to host an interfaith service honoring the 50th anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter. Bishop Swing served as the Episcopal Bishop of California from 1980 until his retirement in 2006. In that capacity, he was a national and international leader in response to the AIDS crisis, co-founded Episcopal Community Services to address San Francisco’s homeless problem, and co-founded Community Bank of the Bay to support local businesses and the economy.

Bishop Swing is an inspirational speaker and an author, most recently of A Bishop's Quest: Founding a United Religions and The Sacred and the Silly: A Bishop's Playful and Eventful Life. Both books are available on; the proceeds of book sales will benefit URI.

URI Stories

Stopping the Islamization of Europe?

In the 17th century, the logical conclusion to interreligious conflict was holy war. A handful of extremists would argue for that conclusion today. But for most of us, violence in the name of God, any God, is not an answer, it is a blasphemy. But if the point is not to take up arms in the cause of exclusive righteousness, then what can people do to cope with the very real changes happening in their communities?

Lessons from Asia Minor

I couldn’t resist. URI’s newest Cooperation Circle resides in Siberia. And here are its members forming a circle. Striking, isn’t it? How did we ever go from a dream to Siberia? I..

In Memorium

Remarks about Richard Goldman by the Right Reverend William E. Swing, delivered December 3, 2010.

Making Sense of Copenhagen

The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, in December 2009, has come and gone. How to interpret its impact is the question?  Pessimistic voices declare that its goal of a binding agreement among nations failed miserably and that the venue of small and large nations together was far too unwieldy to arrive at a meaningful conclusion.  Optimistic voices are cheered that it happened at all.  That leading polluting nations arrived at a common intent to change and that Copenhagen represented only one stop on a long road, whose next steps are Mexico (2010) and beyond until a binding agreement is achieved.

A Climate Change Call to Action

The Global Council of the United Religions Initiative (URI) concurs with some 500 leaders of major faith communities of the world who, when gathered at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne, Australia, in December 2009, issued a statement that “recognized that climate change is the single most important issue presently confronting us and all on Earth.”